All posts tagged: food

Taste of Auckland turns 9! 

I haven’t always been food obsessed. I “got into food” in my mid-twenties and Taste of Auckland was the first food festival I attended. A year before I started this (mostly) food blog, Mum and I bought tickets to the first ever Taste. We checked out a few cooking demonstrations and I tried beef tartare for the first time ever. I took photos for no real reason as I didn’t have social media or a blog. It was casual. Just something to do. Nine years later, as I mentally prepare myself for next week’s festivities, I realise I’m am a die-hard fan girl. I’ve attended 8 years of Taste and I’m going to Taste of Auckland this year too. Twice. It helps that it’s usually around my birthday making my birthday month a bit more wonderful. Well, basically Running four days from 16 to 19 November, the six sessions of Taste of Auckland in partnership with Electrolux is essentially a build-your-own degustation with your choice of fine wine, beer, even cocktails. There are 10 restaurants …

Dan Dan Noodles and a $100 Prezzy Card giveaway

This post was made possible thanks to MAGGI 2minute Wholegrain Noodles – Made with the goodness of wholegrain and are 99% fat free. They are available at all supermarkets. Dan Dan. Fun to say. Fun to eat. Dan Dan Noodles are a common street food from China’s Sichuan Province which  is also responsible for Kung Pao Chicken and Mapo Tofu. If you know these dishes, you’ll know the fiery, punchy flavour profile of the region. Dan Dan Noodles are egg or wheat noodles served with a meat topping, preserved or pickled vegetables, peanuts or sesame seeds, a sweet sesame soy sauce or soup and of course, Sichuan pepper.  Served from street food peddlers, these noodles are an inexpensive, filling meal with lots of flavour. Spice level varies, but this is more about the satisfying tingle of Sichuan Pepper than the burn of chilli. There are many variations on this dish but those are the key elements. For the sake of research, I’ve eaten a few bowls of Dan Dan Noodles to get a feel for …

Vege Wonton Noodle Soup

This post was made possible thanks to MAGGI 2minute Wholegrain Noodles – They are made with the goodness of wholegrain and are 99% fat free. Available at all supermarkets. Do you have a favourite meal? Is it comfort food? I am all about comfort food. As stated on my ABOUT page, wonton noodle soup is my favourite meal. I grew up on wontons and back in the day, I folded many, many wontons for our Chinese take away. Unpretentious. Easy to portion to suit your current appetite. Easy to digest. While I love the Cantonese classic of pork and prawn, I decided it was time to reinvent this old favourite to be vegetarian-friendly. Perfect for spring, this light yet satisfying meal is a hug in a bowl. I make no claims on the authenticity of this recipe. It is fusion at best. Win! MAGGI 2minute Wholegrain noodles come in Chicken or Beef 5 packs, are baked, not fried and are 99% fat free. Thanks to MAGGI’S 2minute Wholegrain Noodles I’m giving away a set of …

Oven baked flounder with tomatoes

If you don’t like eyes looking at you from your plate, then flounder are the worst. I grew up eating yellowbelly flounder. My parents steamed whole fish with fresh ginger and a touch of hot oil and soy, served with rice and a side of greens. Fish doesn’t need much messing around with. While I’m sure not everyone feels the same way, there’s something I find super appealing about fish served whole. Fun fish fact: Flounder are born with an eye on each side but as they develop, one eye grows over to the other side to join the other. Yellowbelly flounder are available year round and I’ve paired them here with tomatoes which also available year round as they are grown in glasshouses. When buying whole fish, Look for bright clear eyes, shiny tight scales and a moist flat tail. A fish with a dry tail is a sad sight. Your flounder will probably be gutted and most places may have scaled your fish, if not ask, for them to be scaled or do …

Pork belly adobo and a Crockpot giveaway

This post was made possible thanks to Crockpot and I am delighted to give away a Crockpot Sear & Slow CHP700 (RRP $299.99). Just complete the entry form at the bottom of this post to enter. Pork belly adobo is comfort food. Adobo is the (unofficial) national dish of the Philippines. A country of 100 million people, inhabiting 7000 islands, you will find many variations, both regional and personal of this delicious Pinoy stew. Some cooks make it with pork, others with chicken, others still with both chicken and pork. Accepted ingredients are soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic and bay leaf. With default savoury, sour and sweet notes, variations include the addition of ingredients such as pineapple, coconut milk, potatoes or hard boiled eggs. I’ve added potatoes to my slow cooker adaptation which soak up the sauce and takes on a gorgeous hue. What I love about this dish is that aside from the pork belly, if you cook regularly, you may already have these ingredients at home. The ingredients list feels familiar and not too …

Braised beef noodles and a Crockpot giveaway

This post was made possible thanks to Crockpot. I am giving away a Crockpot Traditional CHP200 (RRP $119.99) just complete the entry form at the bottom of this post to enter. I was born in Hong Kong and the Cantonese have a long-standing obsession with food. They love to eat well and they love to eat often. Whenever I visit Hong Kong, my days transition from meal to meal. Almost the entire time is spent eating along with the social fanfare that comes with it. There are many dishes I am inspired by. However, locals typically do not cook at home. After working long hours, grocery shopping, followed by cooking at home is undesirable when eating out is so good and very affordable. Here in New Zealand, not so much. Regularly eating out in NZ is expensive but luckily there are clever ways to cook at home using affordable ingredients which yield maximum flavour. Enter the crockpot Thanks to Crockpot I have created a braised beef noodle recipe inspired by a dish found at Dai Pai Dong …

Bao Chicken Bao Bao

This post was made possible thanks to the Best Burger Truck which is trucking through the North Island giving away Beef & Cheese Sliders and Thai Chicken Sliders made with Best Foods Mayo. I have been enjoying Best Foods Mayo since I was a teenager because it is the creamiest, tastiest mayo. I distinctly remember me and my friends being obsessed with this mayo in high school and I have bought it ever since. One thing I was pleased to learn is Best Foods use 100% cage-free eggs in all their products. Winning! The Best Burger Truck recipes have been created by brand ambassador Jo Wilcox, who has worn many different hats including Chef, Food Editor and Food Stylist. To tuck into on these complimentary sliders, simply turn up at the locations in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington listed below. If you can’t make it to one of these events, make your own sliders at home by following the 5 recipes found here. Best Burger Truck will be in… Auckland Friday 28 April, 5pm-8pm at Basement …

Our Growing Edge – March 2017

OMFG you guys, it’s March already. This month’s Our Growing Edge is being hosted by Susan and Mike from Simply Sundays. The theme this month is FAMILY FAVOURITES. If you are embarking on any new food adventures this month, make sure to  share it with Our Growing Edge. Some food adventures you could try this month: Adapt a favourite recipe to a specialty diet Recreate a dish from your childhood Host a pot luck of family favourite recipes Re-write a family favourite recipe Bug a family member for their secret recipe and share it with the world To submit a post, click on the submission button below: More info on the event can be found here. Last month’s event Last month was hosted by Amanda from My Everyday Homemade and the theme was APHRODISIACS in honour of Valentines Day. Below is a preview of some of the submissions. Check back for her full round up on her blog.  

Cocktails and dumplings

This week I tried First Table, a booking website which gives users an early-bird special. Each booking gives the first table of diners (groups of two to four) a generous 50% off their food bill. Food includes dessert and there is no maximum spend. That’s right, no maximum spend. Whether you order $50 or $500 worth of food, you pay half price. While drinks are not included in the special, it’s good to note that your visit may happen to coincide with happy hour at some establishments. First Table currently have about 40 Auckland restaurants to choose from (including The Commons, Pilkingtons, Everybody’s) and covers 16 other regions in New Zealand. The website is easy to use and bookings cost $10 each and can be made up to 6 days prior. Spaces are very limited as there is only 1 first table per day, per restaurant. If you are flexible with dining times or like to eat early and love a great deal, then First Table is perfect for you. After browsing their list of Auckland restaurants, …

Our Growing Edge – February 2017 – Aphrodisiacs!

I hope you had a great start to the year and have kept up with any food related resolutions. February edition of Our Growing Edge is hosted by Amanda from My Everyday Homemade and the theme is APHRODISIACS…just in time for Valentines day. Amanda lives on 8 acres of land in Indiana, US. Her recipes are feed many mouths – as they should be when cooking for 6 people regularly! Check out her charmed life on her Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/homemade_mama/ If you are embarking on any new food adventures this month, make sure to  share it with Our Growing Edge. Some aphrodisiac-related food adventures you could try this month: Makes something from a fruit or vegetable with a sexy shape (bananas, avocados, figs) Cook with chocolate Shuck an oyster Construct a 3 course meal that can be eaten in bed Host a champagne breakfast Devise a romantic dinner for two Make truffles (chocolate) Cook with truffles (fungi) To submit a post, click on the submission button below: More info on the event can be found here. Last month’s event Last month was hosted by Terri from Food …

Poké face

Poké (pronounced “po–kay”) landed in Auckland last September in the tired underground IMAX food court on Queen Street. My fork buddy and I hit up Poke Time on opening day: bright and little tacky, as Hawaiian-themed things can be, the experience has a Subway vibe and is essentially a build-your-own raw fish salad bowl. You pick whatever you want, although it can be too many decisions for the uninitiated. If you’ve never tried poké before, it can be overwhelming but if you know what you are doing, Poke Time is great value. With heaps of options including salmon, two types of tuna, and trevally, they also have token vegetarian options, but that’s probably not what most will come here for. Tip: go for the seasoned fish, the non-marinated options are essentially sashimi bowls, rather than poké bowls. Poké means “chop” and is a Hawaiian dish influenced by Japanese cuisine. Poké is raw fish (such as tuna, salmon or octopus) is cubed and seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, seaweed. Poké is often served served with fresh vegetables and rice …

Our Growing Edge – January 2017 – Healthy Starts

Many of us will begin the year with a food-related resolution. Whatever form your new years resolutions take, there’s no doubt that it can be tricky to start afresh after the decadence of the holiday season. A new year, a new month means a new edition of Our Growing Edge. This blog link up encourages us to try new things in the kitchen, in our bellies and in our every day lives. While I’m not a fan of extreme diets, incorporating whole foods into my diet is absolutely something I can get on board. Fresh produce, fresh fruit, fresh meat and fresh seafood can be super inspiring when it comes to eating well. January 2017 hosted by Terri from Food Meanderings and the theme is HEALTHY STARTS. Hopefully this link up with encourage us to think of healthy, delicious recipes and hold us accountable this month. I look forward to seeing all the delicious ways you start 2017 with. If you are creating any healthy dishes month, share it with Our Growing Edge. Some ideas you could try this month: Experiment with …

Festive Lamb Salad

Hope everyone had a delicious Christmas! We’ve just spent four nights at a bach (kiwi for holiday home) for some family time. We were just a short downhill walk to the centre of Akaroa, a sleepy French harbourside settlement surrounded by dramatic hills. There were barbecues, lots of salads, a glazed ham, whitebait fritters, chocolates, cookies, desserts and just enough chilled beer and wine to wash it all down. I adore glazed ham (call me the queen of ham) and we finished the last of the ham leftovers the night before departure. I am not all hammed out at all. In fact, I’ve been contemplating buying a post-Christmas ham for the two of us to snack on. Maybe after that I shall be satiated. In any case, this festive salad I made earlier this month with lamb steaks could be switched for leftover ham if you happen to have any still left. Just top with sliced ham instead of sliced lamb. Festive lamb salad (or leftover ham salad if you happen to have leftover ham) Serves 2 Ingredients …

Our Growing Edge – December 2016 – Festive Feeds

I am incredulous. How is it December already? Yesterday marked the first day of summer here in the southern hemisphere, which seems upside down to those in the north. Here we like to celebrate the holiday season with beach visits, backyard barbecues and meals eaten al fresco. This is the season for festivities…which leads me to this month’s theme for Our Growing Edge: Festive Feeds. December’s edition of Our Growing Edge is hosted by Rebecca from The Economic Foodie.  Rebecca is an economics grad from Sydney, Australia. The Economic Foodie has been going for a year and a half and includes healthy, wholesome dishes that are gentle on the pocket. Think salads with lots of colour and flavour and mostly (but not strictly) vegetarian recipes. Her mantra “Less waste, more creativity” is great for any time of year, but particularly for December which can be a little more wasteful and indulgent. If you are creating anything delicious for the holiday season, share it with Our Growing Edge. Some ideas you could try this month: Invent a recipe using up holiday leftovers Make an edible gift Host a …

Tofu Tuesday: Serious

We had the pleasure of trying some of Serious Popcorn’s newest flavour: Coconut and Vanilla. With a light flavour a hint of salt and not too sweet, this is great guilt-free snacking. Co-founder of Stolen Rum (see previous Tofu Tuesday: Stolen edition here), Roger Holmes now peddles organic popcorn in three flavours and cutesy packaging. Serious Popcorn are serious about being organic, non GMO, dairy and gluten free and all ingredients 100% traceable from farm to bag. No rabbits were involved in the serious task of snack tasting. Click here to see more editions of Tofu Tuesday.